Big Data

What Can We Learn from the Numbers That Slipped by NSA Censors?

As part of its ongoing push to increase transparency, the Director of National Intelligence on Wednesday evening released the latest compliance report it submitted to Congress. For the most part, the actual data is obscured behind black bars — except on one pie chart, left unredacted, that appears to give more information on the program than the NSA has ever released publicly.

Particularly following a similar report leaked to The Washington Post, the question of how often the government exceeds the rules on data collection have become a subject of enormous debate. In a report released earlier this month, the agency downplayed the frequency of those errors, implying that they occurred only a small fraction of the time. Considering that such violations could mean violations of the constitutional rights of Americans, however, civil liberties groups like the ACLU worry that the thousands of known violations — even if a small percentage of the total uses of the data — are already excessive.

The report released on Wednesday was part of the DNI's effort to assuage concerns about those violations. You can see the entire document at the bottom of this article. The only number that the DNI clearly left visible was this one — which, as you might expect, offers only the percentage of incidents. 

See the chart and read more at The Atlantic Wire.

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